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About Keith1010

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    Cruising, Travel, Indoor Cycling, Sports,
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    Crystal Cruises
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  1. Julia: I know the feeling. I just blame it on auto correct so I don't take the blame. LOL. I can't see them doing the World Cruise and I would just think if the World Cruise won't happen most segments won't happen. I would think notification should come soon given when the final payment is due for the full world cruise. It can't be easy trying to figure out the itineraries not knowing what will be open and what won't and further complicated by the fact that COVID-19 is increasing not only in the USA but in some other places such as in Europe. They say the next six to eight weeks may be very bad at least here. Keith
  2. Don't see it happening including for many reasons including the cost of going through the Panama Canal. Not sure time frame for Serenity to start sailing but would think it would be short itineraries and not going back and forth between Miami and Los Angeles as if this first segment went it couldn't go further West of California. Cruise will happen IMHO but the question is when and where. Remember everyone can't sail Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Time will tell. I suspect you will hear before time frame to make a final payment as others are in the same "boat" with you. We were supposed to be on this one but cancelled and moved the money to another cruise when we thought the timing made more sense for us. Keith
  3. Yes this is real and the money will be spent on Endeavor. You know in the USA several companies (not cruise lines) that pay very little to no taxes got stimulus money. Kept people employed. Kept companies in business. When times were good things like building Endeavor at this ship yard employed many people so it Germany's way of keeping Endeavor and Genting afloat. All around good news for Genting and for those of us who want to see Endeavor launched. One can spend lots of time criticizing all sorts of companies. You know companies who got money in 2008 and 2020 in the USA where heads got big bonuses and other benefits and some workers lost out. In the case of Genting the pain hit everyone to some extent no matter what position you held. As someone who wants to see Crystal survive and come back strong happy to see the investment being made here. I hope many of you might feel the same way. If you don't so it goes. Keith
  4. With all due respect your posts were very harsh about the intent of Jack Anderson’s e-mail. If you don’t want to hear other opinions I would not post or if you do not read responses. I stand by what I said which is to think the best in people because I truly mean from the bottom of my heart that there was no marketing hype. Rather Jack Anderson was acknowledging Toni who was instrumental in So many areas of Crystal and touched so many people from the guests to the vendors to the Crystal team. May Tonii Rest In Peace and May his memory live on including being mentioned from time to time Keith
  5. If you are on the ships long enough often Executives come on board and many from Crystal are visible and it provides an opportunity to get to meet them and overtime get to know many of them. It's funny how we many different people see things from a different vantage point. I don't see this at all as Marketing. After Toni's passing Tom Wolber mentioned him in a tribute and I remember doing likewise on CC and on the Crystal Society Face Book group page as did Crystal and this time Jack Anderson mentioned him. My perspective is it's not marketing. Rather it is the high regard that so many people at Crystal had (as did many guests) for Toni. He touched the hearts of many people and was instrumental for so many aspects of Food & Beverage across all the vessels and later on in other areas of the hotel function as his areas of responsibility increased. He pretty much worked up until the time he passed. So no I truly believe when his name is mentioned it has nothing to do with Marketing or Sales but rather for the admiration people had, and the sadness of losing someone as dear and special as Toni. As I mentioned, sometimes its best to look at the best of people IMHO. Keith
  6. I suspect you do not know Toni nor Jack Anderson. If you did you would NOT question the integrity and intent of Jack Anderson’s message. Those of us who know Jack and knew Toni know it was meant to acknowledge the immense positive impact that the late Toni had on Crystal Cruises. Toni dedicated his final living hours to Crystal as he did throughout his own career. I am glad Hack acknowledged Toni. Please think the best in people rather than the worst. Keith
  7. Sdancer, you are very welcome. You have a very nice cruise planned. Alaska is always special and how nice to celebrate a special anniversary with your son's family. Our first Crystal Cruise was a milestone anniversary for us and included family and a few years ago we celebrated another milestone anniversary with our ever expanding family. I hope it all works out This virus has impacted so many people and businesses, including way too many lives and the health of many people. I hope we get to the place where we can get our lives back or at least close to where they were which includes cruising. Best to you and congratulations on next years anniversary. Keith
  8. cruisr, thank you for your very thoughtful comments. They are most appreciated. Good point about the ship and land perspectives. As I thought about this it reminded me of the company I worked for. We had headquarters functions, field operations/sales functions. The sales force in the field along with field operations had more frequent interaction with customers versus headquarters so at times they had different views on issues. I experienced both during my career which was intentional as part of my career plan to get all sides of the story. Depending on where one is in the company they can see things a bit differently but what I did learn is regardless of where you are its the companies culture that carries over to both areas and across all departments and employees. At least this was my perspective. So companies can indeed have one culture IMHO. Best to you. I do hope you return to Crystal. I do hope we can all get to a place and time when we get this virus behind us. So much has been impacted by this virus. To think last year at this time COVID-19 was not in our vocabulary nor on our radar screen. Best to you. Keith
  9. In the end you will be the judge. My advice is find a Crystal Cruise which works for you and book it. This is what we did. Cruises in the summer tend to attract a younger crowd. Good luck with this. Keith
  10. I truly do not see a change in culture although people have changed. While people have changed many are still around and/or replaced by others who continued with the culture. In fact, when they have recruited and hired people over the years a key prerequisite was finding those who would fit in with the culture. Should they made a mistake in hiring the person would likely be gone overtime. As mentioned in subsequent posts for most of us the culture translates to the actual experience we have on the ship and that experience continues to get better. Crystal has always expected a lot of their people both on and off the ships. At the same time they recognize their people and have done a lot of good for them. Over the years I have gotten to know many of the members of the Crystal team who work on land in addition to those on the vessels and see the same appreciation and understanding of the culture. Now, there has always been some tug-o-war between land based and ocean based personnel. I saw the same thing in a totally unrelated business between those in corporate and those in what we called the field. I do think the communication with respect to the refunds has not been good and good be a good deal better IMHO. On some of the communication they are likely limited because of what Genting has been going through with respect to financials so while I wish there was more in other areas I understand having had experience in this in my former life. Crystal like all companies is there to make money so sometimes people misconstrue changes as not caring about the customer whereas the change is to make the company profitable or once profitable to keep it profitable. For example, many USA airlines over the years implemented administrative fees or even fees if you booked the flight through an agent rather than on your own through the internet. Or some started to charge for selected seats, manny for food in coach and many for luggage or excess luggage. They did so to turn a profit. Likewise the administrative fee was to help reduce people from just booking a lot of cruises knowing they would cancel some. The problem was sometimes cruises or categories were getting booked and people wanting to book them couldn't because they were booked only for some of these to be cancelled. By the time they were cancelled those who had wanted to book them had found either another itinerary with Crystal or booked with another line. River Cruises have been doing this for years and some of the other cruise lines have been doing this before Crystal. Many of those same lines didn't do it from the get-go either. Again, this was all about maximizing revenue and cutting down speculative booking to make money. For a number of years Crystal was losing money. The cruises you mentioned with the Ambassador Hosts weren't those promoted either before COVID-19 or at least prior to the new protocols? Certainly there will be other changes driven by COVID-19 even though they might have been shown in brochures etc. All the cruise lines will be making changes as have the hotels. For example, hotels might have advertised room service but many won't offer that. Or hotels might have advertised club lounges and these are either closed or quite a bit different. The reality is not everyone will like a specific cruise line. Or some who liked it at one point no longer do. Sometimes they say it's because the cruise line changed and that can be the case. The changes might be well accepted by many but those people didn't like the change. Or sometimes people themselves change. For example, I might have really liked a particular cruise line, hotel or restaurant 20 years ago and even if they remained stagnant and didn't change I might not enjoy the experience anymore because I changed. The same is true of employees. Companies have people come and go and some more than others. Some of this is actually very good IMHO. But in some cases just because someone is disgruntled doesn't mean what they say is shared by the majority of its people. I don't think any of us who were in executive positions were liked by each and every person who was part of our team. Crystal is not perfect, nor is any company or any of us. They make mistakes. They always have. Often when mistakes are made they are not repeated and they learn from them. Sometimes they might be hand strung. In the end, each person has to figure out and assess something they are not happy with about a company and determine whether or not they won't do business with the company going forward because of the mistake. As disappointed I am with the issue I mentioned earlier, I still plan to sail Crystal in the coming years. Each person has to make their own decision. In short, Crystal like most companies have evolved over the years. From the first time I sailed Crystal and for the first time I was on Cruise Critic I remember some saying it was not like it was. When I sailed other lines I heard similar comments from long term passengers. For me the on-board experience with Crystal Cruises has been better than ever and the things which we like best about Crystal have only improved overtime. As to the culture certain areas they always emphasized I find they are emphasizing to a greater extent today rather than less which I find very positive. Anyway, I hope I answered your questions. The main reason I weighed in on this thread was its original topic of Tom Wolber as I didn't agree with some of the negative comments being made based on my own observations. Like most threads this one started to take on a life of its own when it became a discussion about culture and other things. Best to you. Stay safe and healthy during these very challenging times. Keith
  11. I hear you and it can happen but I didn't see this with Crystal. Sure there were changes but the core culture of being customer focused, focusing on each person as an individual, strong teamwork, focus on entertainment, cuisine and several other areas has been consistent. Crystal has benefited from having the highest retention rate in the cruise industry and I have found those heading the company recognized that in the end it was the people who made the difference. In fact fact this was emphasized in the marketing campaign of 2019 and 2020 which featured guests and the crew Keith
  12. Crystal has not gone down hill. I have been sailing them since 2002 and feel they are better than ever. If you love food and entertainment you should be very pleased with Crystal. We have taken seven Celebrity cruises and it was our go to line for our first several years of cruising after we sailed Crystal a few times we sailed Celebrity again. Fond memories of the line and we did enjoy their suites and other aspects sailing them. I would highly recommend giving Crystal a shot. Unfortunately many people who sail Crystal regularly and enjoy it don't write reviews. However they return year after year and that says it all. Keith
  13. Well I'll throw in my two cents. CODID-19 is the cause of the problem. It is not Genting, nor any one individual. Without COVID-19 Crystal was on track for a stellar 2020 and had its highest bookings for 2021 across all vessels. The fleet would have been augmented with a state-of-the art Endeavor. Aggressive companies do things like lease backs. This is nothing new. This includes companies on land and at sea. If you are not high growth you don't do this and if you are a publicly traded slow growth company you offer things like dividends to your shareholders. High growth companies either offer no dividends or just a small amount to meet requirements in order to put the money back into the company. What they do offer is more growth potential to shareholders. Did you know Viking took lots of risks and had its set of financial challenges doing this and needed a financial bail out a few years ago or things would have come tumbling down. But, they were high growth as demonstrated by the number of River Cruise vessels and the rollout of their Ocean Vessels. Most of the Senior Management brought in when Edie was running the company left in the months following her separation from Crystal. Tom Wolber came in on a three year contract. He focused on several key areas. You say he did nothing. I say he did quite a lot. As I mentioned earlier he stabilized Crystal Cruises. He eliminated the plan to have a hybrid condo and passenger sailing ship one that many of us had concerns with. He spent considerable amount of time in the design and building of Endeavor and was on track to make its debut on-schedule if not for the dreaded COVID-19. By March crew were selected for the new ship and were making plans to join the ship later in the summer. He was there for all of the planning and the rollout of Serenity from its last dry-dock were a success and they were. Although he was there for the rollout of Symphony he was not involved in any of its planning. He also was very involved in the planning of the next generation of Ocean Vessels for Crystal. Yes three years go fast and even faster when things are happening. He allowed people to do their jobs providing support they needed both in terms of resources but also by slowing things down so they could focus on what they had to work with. New itineraries for all vessels and even the selling of the inaugural voyages of Endeavor were not announced until there was reasonable certainty to ensure schedules were met to avoid all of the changes such as cancelled cruises and the constant revision to itineraries which occurred prior to his appointment. Was he perfect? No. Who is? I think what is telling is most people seemed genuinely happy with the Crystal Product and other than a few hiccups (Crystal Symphony coming out of dry-dock) the comments I saw on this board and comments from those I sailed with were very positive about all the vessels. This says a lot too. Most of the cruise lines are struggling. They are designed to sail and take in revenue. Many other companies are struggling. Some such as USA ones had the benefit of getting stimulus such as the USA based airlines but if they get no more stimulus there will be a massive reduction of jobs. Unlike the cruise industry the USA airlines didn't come to a complete halt. They not only flew passenger flights but also could carry more freight with lighter passenger loading. Some cruise lines are already disposing of ships much earlier than planned and to survive have arranged for financing that is not optimal for them but they had no choice. Carnival is one of those. The area which I wish more was done is refunds from cancelled cruises and that includes more communication. That was an area where mistakes have been made IMHO. I will not speculate why Jack Anderson was brought in and why he is interim but have at least two thoughts on this. Also, interim never includes permanent but I won't speculate on that one either. I also won't speculate on Genting's plans with respect to Crystal Cruises although I also have thoughts on that too. Nothing in life is certain. And COVID-19 has thrown the worst "monkey wrench" into many industries including travel and hospitality far greater than anything we have seen in our lifetime. This includes length of the impact and its reach being global versus geographic. I still believe the future is bright and this includes the travel industry and for Crystal. What I can say is when a vaccine is available to us, when it has a proven track record my wife and I look forward to sailing Crystal and have cruises planned. We love sailing Crystal more today (well the last time we sailed) than every before and we love travel so we plan to be back sailing its ocean, river and expedition and yacht vessels. As I often say time will tell. Keith
  14. I think sone of you realize I have posted very little the past couple of months. I have chosen this route for several reasons which I will not address now. Tom Wolber came to Crystal Cruise for a specific time frame. His focus was several fold. This included to work on the new build of Endeavor. If not for COVID 19 Endeavor would be sailing and we would have sailed her on her second voyage. At Disney he was very involved with new builds. He also was at Crystal to focus on meeting commitments and minimizing changes. Mission accomplished. His focus was on letting his team do their jobs, giving them the freedom and tools to accomplish this and in getting Endeavor in service and planning for the new Ocean Vessel. He was the right leader at the right time. As to Jack Anderson. Yes he is the interim leader and interim is because he is at the stage of his life where he does not need to be permanent. Likewise Tom Wolber was at the stage of his life where he didn’t need to stay a long time. Trust me. I fully understand the feeling which is when I moved to the next chapter of my life. Well. enough said. Crystal will make it through this. It won’t be easy but they will. Even in good tines I believe Ton Wolber would move on and Jack Anderson would be brought in temporary. Personally I am saddened about The negative comments but as my wife would say so it goes. I wish people would not trash others but so it goes as well. Tom accomplished quite a bit in spite of the comments that say otherwise. Keith
  15. Wonderful post Tom. The memories created on each voyage do last a life time and help us get through the trying times. We remember our sailing with you and Ed as if it was yesterday even though sixteen years have passed since the voyage. I still believe the future is bright. We will have some bumps in the road with COVID-19, we may have to change a few things for years to come, but there is still lots to look forward to including getting back to sea. Stay well. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Keith and (Anne Marie)
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